Arezou Rezvani | KUOW News and Information

Arezou Rezvani

Principal Mary Ann Hale dreads weekends.

By the time Fridays roll around, 74-year-old Hale, a principal at West Elementary School in McArthur, Ohio, is overcome with worry, wondering whether her students will survive the couple of days away from school.

Too many children in this part of Ohio's Appalachian country live in unstable homes with a parent facing addiction. For years, the community has struggled with opioids. Ohio had the second-highest number of drug overdose deaths per capita in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When North Korea released three U.S. prisoners last Wednesday amid increased engagement with Washington, the families of U.S. citizens detained in Iran couldn't help but wonder about prospects for their own loved ones. Just a day earlier, the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran. For the detainees' relatives, it has been a painful and uncertain time.

Ohio has almost always voted for winning presidential candidates. The state has backed the winner in 28 of the last 30 presidential elections.

This year, the race is tight here, with some polls showing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton modestly ahead and others putting Republican nominee Donald Trump in a slight lead.